YANKTON, S.D. (KTIV) — It’s been five years since a roadside bomb, in Iraq, killed three members of Yankton, South Dakota’s “Charlie” Battery of the 147th Field Artillery.
Staff Sergeant Dan Cuka, Specialist Allen Kokesh, Junior, and Sergeant First Class Richard Schild.
After five years, Richard’s wife and two kids are still learning to cope and carry on without him.
A painting tells the story of a typical American family. Faces reveal a much happier time before life turned tragic.
“You could see the top of their hats so I knew something was wrong, and then they said Rich got hit by a roadside bomb on December Fourth,” said Kay Schild.
Kay Schild will never forget the day two military officers arrived at her front door five years ago. Her husband, Sergeant First Class Richard Schild was killed by a IED while on patrol in Iraq. The centerpiece of a family was gone.
“I was like, how will I survive,” said Kay.
But in the five years since Richard’s death, the Schild’s have survived. They’ve moved from Tabor to a new home in Yankton. The kids enrolled in a new school. But it hasn’t been easy.
“To the kids I said were going to have to get along without dad he’s not going to be here anymore ,” Schild said.
Kay Schild has become both a mother, and father, to 11-year-old Koby and 12-year old Keely. She’s in charge of everything from homework, “Mow the lawn, snow blow, I mean any little problem there is I try to fix it first before I call anybody. It’s just hard I mean trying to be two parents at one time,” said Kay.
Not to mention a taxi service on a strict schedule.
“It would be nice to say ‘Hey Rich could you take Kolby here I’ll take Keely here but I can’t, I have to just pull it all together and try to do it,” Kay said.
But besides living Kay and the kids have also learned how to cope. Each with their own method.
“I have just tried to put other stuff on my mind and try to forget about,” says daughter Keely Schild.
“In school we have a prayer that my teacher sister Margo leads us in and she always mentions my dad,” said son Koby Schild.
And in the summer months, the family returns to their old home in Tabor. They meet with neighbors and set off a few fireworks, a tradition they had with their father.
“We do these fireworks in Tabor, because he loved to do them,” said Keely.
But after five years of finding a new normal, maybe the most important lesson this family has learned is to keep their friends close.
“My family and friends help out a lot, friends talk to them let them help you and let it out, ” said Kay.
“I think in the next five years we’ll be getting a little bit stronger and a little bit stronger… And I am hoping that people are just thinking jeeze she is doing good without Rich and think of Rich being there,” says Kay.
A presence forever felt… in the eyes of a father, who fought as a soldier. In Yankton, South Dakota Forrest Saunders KTIV Newschannel Four.
Online Reporter: Forrest Saunders